Last weekend, hours before kickoff: “You have to hear what your son did!” shried Stacy. “Do I want to?” I asked timidly. (Sibling interactions can be coin flips).

“It was the nicest thing…I’ll forward it.”

Exhaling, I opened an MMS of Max. Clad in snow suit and carseat, (all eleven weeks of him), he was holding a sign:

                   “HI UNCLE JASON
                          GO BEARS !!”

I wondered if Michael knew how nice it was…that gesture. Unsolicited kindness is powerful stuff. A little goes a long way. My kid had no stake in the game—no emotional involvement. His brother-in-law’s heart, though, was on the line and hence: the shout out. It not only warmed this parent’s soul, but made me think….

I wonder if Marvin Baskin knew. Did he even remember that Sunday? It was fall of ’69 and Dick was yet pretty much Hal’s friend; I was the older “kid” brother. Still, when Dick’s dad got wind of the fact that I wrote, we bonded. “Did Sue ever show you my poetry?” he asked (disappearing for a moment). Moments later he returned brandishing a box of papers. “I wrote to,” he beamed. We spent the afternoon, two guys…reading, talking women, and (one of us), smoking cigars. (Could he have known that forty years later I’d still picture that day?)

Or Wieder. I tell him now and then…but still: Gordon Park! Moving me up 8 lineup spots to get my at bats in, secure my trophy! It was not only unrequested, but unexpected. As close as we were, it was special. Lifetime special.

The little things—the outside-the-box things:

Like my first years downtown. David and I ate at The Theatrical, where the athletes and powerbrokers not only hung, but had their own tables. Every time Jacobson heard we’d be there he’d have me paged. Every time. “Bogie,” he once told me, “It’s good for your career.” Somehow he’d find time in his day to make the call. I’d be sitting with Linick, lunch after lunch, and the PA’d ring out “Bruce Bogart, telephone.”

The extra kindnesses—

Like the year I ran for Outer Guard. Fenton was living on Woodway—the same street as my opponent. Stuart, of course, could care less about the lodge, but he did care for me. And so it was that the night of the other guy’s campaign meeting Stuey walked the street taking down the license plate of each person working against me. He knew I was in it to win it.

I think of the isolated cheseds often—not just today. I know well that the softest gesture can ring the loudest bell. Acts of kindness, be they random or thought out, far outlive their shelflives.

Like my brother’s friend Herman. They’ve never really met, but when Glimsher learned H liked Archie comics, he Fedexed him a boxload. Just because.

Or Bonnie. First life she played mahj with the ex. Still, to this day, there’s never a time I don’t bump into her that she’s anything but warm, caring…We talk at Heinens—sharing with, (dare I say?) pre-decree warmth. She is SO the exception to the rule.

It takes so little to do right. My kids laugh when I drive friends to the airport. Is that so bad? Really, if I’m not working, what do I have better to do? Work harder?

Hal is my closest friend. Bar none. I wonder though, if even he knows which, of all the gifts he’s given me, from birthdays to simchas to…whatever…I wonder if he REALLY KNOWS which is my favorite.

It was business cards. No more, no less.
“Open the box, “ he told me on my 60th birthday. “Read what they say.”
Ripping them open I read.
There was my name…and under my name it said “The Richest Man In Town”, and under that it said “Attorney-at-Law, Essayist and Thespian.” What it didn’t note, but what was oh so clear, was that my brother “got me.” He really got me.

And he told me that with love…the greatest gift of all.

One Response to “THE RHYTHM OF LOVE”

  1. BONNIE says:

    Bruce, that was so nice…and indeed, the greatest gift of all! And ditto right back at ya!

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